EA: Hydropower On the Increase in UK

There has been a six-fold increase in the number of hydropower projects planned in England and Wales since 2008, the Environment Agency announced.

That number likely to rise again this year as the application process to install hydro schemes is simplified, a press release states. In 2010, licenses were granted for 65 hydro schemes, compared with 10 in 2008, the EA said.

This year, it will be more straightforward to make an application, in order to assist the communities, developers and individuals looking to capitalize on government incentives to produce renewable electricity. Simpler application forms will be published on the EA’s Web site during February 2011. EA teams throughout England and Wales will provide early advice to developers of hydropower schemes to help them produce well-designed, sustainable schemes.

The EA has been working with industry, anglers, NGOs and landowners on ways to improve the existing permitting process. These improvements will not need any changes to the complex legal framework around the various permissions and have been implemented in response to the growing interest in hydropower.

With around 350 hydropower schemes currently licensed in England and Wales, the EA estimates that this number could rise to around 1,200 by 2020.